U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin says he won’t vote for the “For the People Act” because no Republicans will (”Sen. Joe Manchin isn’t a statesman; he’s a fool,” June 8). He says voting rights legislation must be bipartisan. He has no specific criticism of this omnibus bill that is popular with voters of both parties. I believe it is unpatriotic to elevate party over principle as Senator Manchin is — perhaps unintentionally — doing.
The For the People Act is a serious effort to make every voter equal and to make government serve the people better. It would ban gerrymandering and dark money in federal elections. It would allow candidates who don’t know millionaires to successfully run for Congress. And it would make it easier to vote while protecting the security of elections. This bill must pass because it enforces the Constitutional principle of equality before the law at a time when that principle is in peril. We are now called upon again to enforce the post-Civil-War equality amendments through statute or revert to a racialized, two-tier system of citizenship.
Neither Senator Manchin’s bipartisanship principal nor the filibuster he defends can be found in the Constitution. In fact, the framers detested political parties. The two-party system has been a huge mistake for the United States and now we see a senator placing “bipartisanship” ahead of the Constitution. We, the people, must not give up. We must continue to fight until every voter is equal and until big money does not run our government for its own benefit. Senator Manchin should listen to his constituents and reevaluate his analysis.
Charlie Cooper, Baltimore
The writer is president of Get Money Out - Maryland.
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